Imām Nāfi

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الحمد لله رب العالمين

و أفضل الصلاة و أتم التسليم على أشرف الأنبياء و المرسلين

إن الذين يتلون كتاب الله و أقاموا الصلاة وأنفقوا مما رزقناهم سرا وعلانية يرجون تجارة لن تبور۝ ليوفيهم أجورهم ويزيدهم من فضله إنه غفور شكور۝
“Surely those who recite the Book of Allāh, establish ṣalāh, and spend from what We provided them secretly and openly, hope for a trade that will not perish. So that He gives them their reward in full, and increases them out of His bounty; indeed, He is Forgiving, Grateful.”
(Sūrah Fāṭir, Āyah: 29-30)

خيركم من تعلم القرآن و علمه
“The best amongst you are those who learn the Qur’ān and teach it.”
(Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī #:5027)

The First Qur’ān Teachers

In every generation of this ummah there has been a group of people who are well-known due to their memorization and teaching of the Qur’ān: amongst the companions there was cUthmān, cAlī, Ubay ibn Kacb, Zayd ibn Thābit, Ibn Mascūd, Abū Dardā, Abū Mūsā al-Ashcarī, and all those whom cUthmān sent out with a muṣḥaf to the different lands of Islām;

Amongst the Tabicīn, there were Ibn al-Musayyib, cUrwah, Sālim, cUmar ibn Abdul-cAzīz, Sulaymān ibn Yasār, his brother, cAṭā, Zayd ibn Aslam, Muslim ibn Jundab, Ibn Shihāb al-Zuhrī, Abdur-Raḥmān ibn Hurmuz, Mucādh ibn al-Ḥārith (famously known as Mucādh al-Qārī), all of whom were in Madinah;

cAṭā ibn Abī Rabāḥ, Mujāhid, Ibn Abī Mulaykah, cUbayd ibn cUmayr, etc. in Makkah;

cĀmir ibn Abdul-Qays, Abū al-cĀliyah, Abū Rajā’, Naṣr ibn cĀṣim, Yaḥyā ibn Yacmar, Jābir ibn Zayd, al-Ḥasan, Ibn Sīrīn, Qatādah, etc. in Baṣrā;

cAlqamah, al-Aswad, cUbaydah, al-Rabīc ibn Khaytham, al-Ḥārith ibn Qays, cUmar ibn Shuraḥbīl, cAmr ibn Maymūn, Zirr ibn Ḥubaysh, cUbayd ibn Naḍlah, Abū Zurcah ibn cAmr, Sacīyd ibn Jubayr, and al-Nakhacī in Kūfah;

al-Mughīrah ibn Abī Shihāb al-Makhzūmī, student of cUthmān, and Khulayd ibn Sacīd/Sacd, student of Abū Dardā, to name just a few of those in Shām.

Later on, some people devoted themselves solely to the science of recitation, mastering and taking great interest in it.

In Madīnah there was Abū Jacfar Yazīd ibn al-Qacc, then Shaybah ibn Niṣāḥ, followed by Nāfic ibn Abī Nucaym.

Abdullāh ibn Kathīr and Ḥumayd ibn Qays al-Acraj were in Makkah.

In Kūfah you had cĀṣim ibn Abī al-Nujūd, Sulaymān al-Acmash, then Ḥamzah, followed by al-Kisā’ī.

In Baṣrā there was Abdullāh ibn Abī Isḥāq, cĪsā ibn cAmr, Abū cAmr ibn al-cAlā’, cĀṣim al-Jaḥdarī, and later Yacqūb al-Ḥaḍramī.

In Shām there was Abdullāh ibn cĀmir, cAṭiyyah ibn Qays al-Kilābī, Ismācīl ibn Abdullāh ibn al-Muhājir, and later on Yaḥyā al-Dhimārī, then Shurayḥ ibn Yazīd al-Ḥaḍramī.

Amongst the firmament of these qurrāh (sing. qārī; lit. someone who recites), a number of stars stood out, becoming so proficient in recitation and vocalization that they became Imāms in this field whom people traveled towards and studied under.

The Qirā’āt & the Qurrāh

The wordqirā’āt(قراءات) is the plural of “qirā’ah(قراءة; lit. reading) which is the infinitive, or verbal noun, of qara’a (قرأ; lit. he read/recited) yaqra’u (يقرأ; lit. he is reading/reciting/will read/recite). Technically it refers to a method of uttering the Qur’ān used by an Imām among the qurrāh that has been established with a chain of transmission from the Prophet, and this method is such that it is not the same as other methods of uttering the Qur’ān.

After some time, expressions conveying the number of qirā’āt (قراءات) became famous, so people would say, “The Seven Qirā’āt,” or, “The Ten Qirā’āt,” or, “The Fourteen Qirā’āt.”

The most favored of all in fame and renown were the Seven Qirā’āt, which are the recitations attributed to the seven well-known Imāms:

  • Nāfic
  • cĀṣim
  • Ḥamzah
  • Abdullāh ibn cĀmir
  • Abdullāh ibn Kathīr
  • Abū cAmr ibn al-cAlā’
  • and cAlī al-Kisā’ī
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